2-Day Meal Plan 2

Serves 4 | Difficulty: Easy

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Cover photo for 2-day meal plan 1 showing 2 claypots of pork rib and daikon soup and stew

Step into the cozy and warm embrace of grandma’s kitchen with these two classic pork rib and daikon recipes.

Pork rib and daikon recipes are timeless classics you’ll discover in nearly every Chinese home kitchen when the colder months roll in or if you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

Instead of bold flavors, these dishes lean towards the milder side, offering that familiar warmth reminiscent of mom’s and grandma’s home cooking.

Did I mention they’re super easy too? It’s a one-pot situation, and to make it even more hands-off, we’re transforming them into Instant Pot recipes!

Keys to Success

  • Opt for top-quality ingredients within your budget. These dishes feature subtle seasonings that bring out the distinct flavors of pork, daikon, and napa cabbage, best enjoyed from fall to winter.
  • For a clear and pure broth, start by parboiling the pork ribs. This step helps reduce excess fat, ensuring the soup isn’t greasy and looks more appetizing. Plus, it eliminates any impurities. You can parboil both Meal 1 and Meal 2 portions together to save time.
  • Prepare the stir-fry sauce for our Napa Cabbage Stir-Fry in advance—it stays fresh in the fridge for up to 6 weeks! This makes it perfect for quick, last-minute stir-fries.”

No Instant Pot?

You can go old-school and prepare it on the stovetop. I’ve included specific adjustments in each Meal’s section to guide you through the traditional cooking method.

What if i can’t find cross-cut ribs?

Most Asian grocery stores sell porks ribs that are cross-cut by default. Instead of a large rib bone, it’s usually cut into thirds. If you’re unable to find it, that’s fine! No changes needs to be made to recipe cook or prep time. The meat will be fall-off-the-bone anyway so you can still break them down into bite-sized pieces when you’re eating.

In the photo above, I used regular baby back ribs I found at Costco for the stew recipe and it worked out just fine!

Making for Two?

Skip out on the Napa Cabbage stir-fry and the pork ribs dishes turn into 2 servings. But with soups and stews, they just taste even better the next day. So, making them as the recipe says and having leftovers won’t hurt!

First time here?

Check out my Getting Started guide to learn how to use this meal plan.

Prep Summary

  • 4 clove garlic minced
  • 4 stalk scallion green and white part separated, thinly slice green part for garnish
  • 2 lb daikon cut into chunks (store in airtight container if not using right away)
  • 2 lb napa cabbage chopped into 2-inch width, white and green parts separated
  • 3 lb cross-cut pork rib cut into individual chunks
    • parboil all 3 lb of pork ahead of time if you’re able to, rinse, pat dry, and store in an airtight container until needed
  • 0.5 cup stir-fry sauce (see recipe) prepared ahead

  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 2 stalk scallion green and white part separated, thinly slice green part for garnish
  • 1 lb daikon cut into chunks
  • 1 lb napa cabbage chopped into 2-inch width, white and green parts separated
  • 1 lb cross-cut pork rib cut into individual chunks
    • parboil the next meal’s pork together; rinse, pat dry, and store remainder in an airtight container until needed
  • 0.25 cup stir-fry sauce (see recipe) prepared ahead
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 2 stalk scallion white part lightly bruised; green part thinly sliced for garnish
  • 1 lb daikon cut into chunks
  • 1 lb napa cabbage chopped into 2-inch width, white and green parts separated
  • 2 lb cross-cut pork rib cut into individual chunks
  • 0.25 cup stir-fry sauce (see recipe) prepared ahead

Blanching vegetables serves 2 purposes: (1) It prevents loss of flavor, color, and texture—extending the “life” of the vegetable throughout the week, and (2) it gives us a head start in the cooking process for stir-fries. Stir-frying generally only takes 5 minutes. If you start from raw, some pieces won’t cook as evenly as others (especially hardy vegetables like broccoli). Blanching pre-cooks each piece of veggie so you will have a consistent tasting stir-fry every time. This is a well-known technique used in many Chinese restaurants!

Here’s how:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil (about 6 cups) and add 1 Tbsp kosher salt. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl on the side.
  2. Blanch vegetables for the time indicated on the recipe/prep summary. The countdown starts when the water comes back to a boil, so don’t overcrowd! Once done, immediately transfer the vegetables with a sieve to the ice bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking process.
  3. When vegetables have cooled, drain well and transfer to a storage container or Ziploc bag. Use a salad spinner to remove excess water for leafy greens or use clean hands to squeeze out remaining water.
  4. You can repeat this process with all the vegetables using the same pot of water. Bring water back to a rolling boil before starting a new batch. Replenish ice to ice bath as needed to keep water cold.

Chopped Aromatics

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge to keep maximum freshness. Use them within 7-10 days. If you suspect it has gone bad – the color has changed (e.g. turns brown), there is visible mold, the texture is mushy – toss them. Always err on the side of caution to avoid food poisoning.

Chopped Veggies

Store in meal prep containers or in the bags they come with in the crisper drawer. If a vegetable has a high-water content and tends to go limp quick, wrap it with a paper towel before storing it in the fridge. The paper towel absorbs excess liquid that will prevent it from wilting or turning mushy.

Meat and Seafood

As a general guideline, vacuum seal seafood if you won’t be using it within 2 days of purchase. For this reason, I always place recipes with seafood earlier in the Meal Plan Menu. For meat, vacuum seal if you won’t be using them within 4-5 days of purchase or the product’s “best by” date. Vacuum seal ASAP to keep maximum freshness. Vacuum sealed meat and seafood keep for over a week without any issues. However, if you know you won’t be able to use it within the week, date them and pop them in the freezer for later use. They are good for up to 6 months before their flavor and texture start to lessen.

If you do not have a vacuum sealer, wrap fish and meat tightly with saran wrap, then wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Store in a Ziploc bag, squeezing as much air out as possible. Date them and pop them in the freezer for later use.

Use different cutting boards for your proteins and veggies. Always wash and disinfect knives when switching from meat to veggies to prevent cross-contamination. It goes without saying that you should clean your produce before consumption and preparation.

During prep, always start with food cooked at the lowest temperature first, working your way up. For example, chopped scallions are often used as garnish and will be consumed raw, so chop them before potatoes (which you will cook so the risk is lower). Likewise, you would prepare salad greens first.  

The same principle applies when keeping them in the fridge. Don’t stack raw chicken above fish – any juices from the chicken that trickle into the fish would pose a risk. Should the chicken be contaminated with salmonella, the time and temperature at which you would cook fish to perfection is not enough to kill the bacteria.  

Meal 1

Pair this meal with steamed white rice and Napa Cabbage Stir-Fry.

Stove-top modification

Use the instructions in the recipe card as a guide with the following modifications:

  • Parboil for 5-10 minutes on high heat.
  • When making the soup, bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  • Let it simmer for about 40 minutes or until the pork ribs are fork-tender and the daikon is thoroughly cooked.
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Pork Ribs and Daikon Soup with Goji Berries (Instant Pot)*

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: instant pot, pork rib and radish soup
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cross-cut pork ribs cut into individual chunks
  • 1 lb daikon cut into chunks
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 stalks scallions green and white part separated, thinly slice green part for garnish
  • salt to taste
  • a touch of white pepper to taste

To serve:

  • 1 tsp fish sauce or to taste (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp goji berries (optional)
  • a handful of chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  • (Parboil) In a pot that is large enough to hold the pork ribs, cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 3-5 minutes until the pork ribs have changed color. Discard the water and rinse the pork ribs under running water. Drain well and set aside. This step removes any scum and excess oil to make the soup clearer.
  • Set the instant pot to pressure cook on high. Add the parboiled pork ribs, daikon, ginger, and the white part of the scallions. Add 4 cups of water. Close the lid and set the valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, followed by a 5-minute natural release. (To do a natural release, simply let the pressure release on its own for 5 minutes after the cooking time is complete.)
  • Once the natural release is complete, carefully do a quick release to release any remaining pressure. Discard the scallions and ginger. Add fish sauce (if using) and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Stir to mix well.
  • If using goji berries, set the instant pot to sauté mode on “Less”. Add the goji berries and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and serve with thinly sliced green scallions (green part) and chopped cilantro.

Notes

Parboiling means partially boiling the pork ribs to remove any scum or excess oil.
Total time for pressure cooking from start to finish is about 40 minutes (including release time).
If you cannot find pork ribs that have already been cross-cut (bite-sized pieces), it’s fine. No changes needs to be made to recipe cook or prep time. The meat will be fall-off-the-bone anyway so you can still break them down into bite-sized pieces when you’re eating.
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Napa Cabbage Stir-Fry*

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 4 (as a side)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Napa cabbage chopped into 2-inch width, white and green parts separated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp dried shrimp optional
  • 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce prepared ahead
  • Oil for stir-frying

Instructions

  • (Optional) Soak 1 Tbsp dried shrimp in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain well, pat dry, and chop finely. (If shrimp is wet, it will cause oil to splatter when stir-frying later).
  • Heat a wok or large skillet on high heat and add 1 Tbsp of oil to coat. Add the minced garlic and dried shrimp (if using) and sauté for 15-30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the white part of the Napa cabbage and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Cover the wok with a lid and let it steam for 1-2 minutes, tossing once in between to prevent burning.
  • Then add the green parts of the cabbage along with 1/4 cup of stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until the green part of the cabbage starts to wilt, and the sauce is bubbling.
  • You should see some liquid released from the cabbage at this point. Give a final toss to mix everything, and serve hot with steamed rice.

Meal 2

Pair this meal with steamed white rice and Napa Cabbage Stir-Fry.

Stove-top modification

Use the instructions in the recipe card as a guide with the following modifications:

  • Parboil for 5-10 minutes over high heat.
  • Mix in an extra 1 cup of water with the seasonings. The pork should be partially submerged.
  • While stewing, simmer covered for 30 minutes on low heat.
  • Uncover and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat to thicken and create a glossy sauce.
  • Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
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Soy Sauce Pork Rib and Daikon Stew (Instant Pot)*

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: instant pot, pork rib and radish stew
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lb cross-cut pork ribs cut into individual chunks
  • 1 lb daikon cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks scallion white part lightly bruised, green part thinly sliced for garnish
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cornstarch slurry 1 tsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

Seasonings:

  • 25 g rock sugar
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 pieces red fermented bean curd substitute 1 Tbsp hoisin or oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

Prepare the Pork Ribs (Parboil):

  • Place the pork spare ribs in the Instant Pot. Cover them with just enough water. Cook on low pressure for 5 minutes, then do a quick release of pressure. (As you wait, prepare the seasonings in the next step). Remove the ribs from the Instant Pot, rinse them, and drain. This step is important to remove scum and excess fat.
  • Wash and dry the Instant Pot lining – we’ll use it again later.

Prepare the Seasonings:

  • In a bowl, combine the seasoning ingredients. Ensure the bean curd is well smashed into a paste.

Cooking the Stew:

  • Add the ginger slices, the white part of the scallion, and the star anise into the Instant Pot. Return the blanched pork ribs to the pot. Add the daikon. Pour the prepared seasonings over the contents in the pot. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, followed by an 8-minute natural release.

Finishing the Stew:

  • Quick release any remaining pressure. Remove and discard the ginger slices, scallion, and star anise.
  • Switch the Instant Pot to sauté mode on high to reduce the liquid. This will make the stew thicker and glossier. Stir gently a couple of times during this process to prevent sticking. This should take about 10 minutes. Add in the cornstarch slurry if you want and even thicker consistency.
  • Once the stew has reached the desired consistency, serve it hot. Garnish with the thinly sliced green part of the scallions.

Notes

If you cannot find pork ribs that have already been cross-cut (bite-sized pieces), it’s fine. No changes needs to be made to recipe cook or prep time. The meat will be fall-off-the-bone anyway so you can still break them down into bite-sized pieces when you’re eating.

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Shopping List

ingredientquantityunitcategorynoteslist type
dried shrimp2Tbspmisc. dry goodspantry
goji berries2Tbspmisc. dry goodspantry
dark soy sauce1.5Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
fish sauce1tspcondiments and spicespantry
rock sugar25gcondiments and spicespantry
shaoxing wine0.25cupcondiments and spicespantry
soy sauce3Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
star anise2piececondiments and spicespantry
stir-fry sauce0.5cupcondiments and spiceshomemade (oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil)pantry
daikon2lbproduceshopping
garlic4cloveproduceshopping
ginger7sliceproduceshopping
napa cabbage2lbproduceshopping
scallion4stalkproduceshopping
cross-cut pork rib3lbmeat and seafoodshopping
red fermented bean curd2piececanned or jarredsubstitute 1 tbsp hoisin or oyster sauceshopping

Other 2-day Meal Plans

Hi, I’m Ariel 

I’m a foodie with a simple philosophy: why should amazing food be reserved for the weekends alone? I’m all about making every meal delicious because, let’s face it, we only have so many meals in our lifetime.

My mission? To take the stress out of cooking with easy-to-use meal plans so you can enjoy mouthwatering recipes any day of week. Join me on this tasty journey and let’s savor “more taste, less waste” in every bite!

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Hi, I’m Ariel 

I’m a foodie with a simple philosophy: why should amazing food be reserved for the weekends alone? I’m all about making every meal delicious because, let’s face it, we only have so many meals in our lifetime.

My mission? To take the stress out of cooking with easy-to-use meal plans so you can enjoy mouthwatering recipes any day of week. Join me on this tasty journey and let’s savor “more taste, less waste” in every bite!